BOZEMAN — Teachers in the Gallatin Valley nominate kids from their classroom each year to participate in the annual Shop with a Cop event.
“Kids see us when it’s a stressful call or a stressful situation, and today is a happy time. So, it makes it on a neutral ground,” said Marek Ziegler, community resource officer with the Bozeman Police Department.
These kids come from a variety of backgrounds, and many coming from families in need. “Kids show up, they get paired with an officer, and they get to go shop for their family,” said Ziegler.
The kids receive a $75 gift card for their holiday shopping while parents get $25 for a gift for their kids when they sign them in.
“The boy that I’ve got with me, he’s very directed. He knows exactly what he wants for his family,” said Sergeant Patrick McLaughlin from the Montana Highway Patrol.
Shop with a Cop started off with just the Bozeman Police Department, but now includes law enforcement from the entire Gallatin Valley.
“We work together every day. And this is another way for us to do it. We’re not always dealing with the public in the best of situations. Here it’s all good,” said McLaughlin.
The event was made possible thanks to donations from shoppers, the public and the Bozeman Police Foundation.
“This is my fourth or fifth time. And it’s an annual event. It’s one of those things that once you start, you just can’t let go. It’s so cool," McLaughlin said.